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Microsoft Patents DRM'd Torrents

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the i'll-patent-torrenting-torrents dept.

Microsoft 193

Anonymous Crobar writes "Microsoft has received a patent for a 'digital rights management scheme for an on-demand distributed streaming system,' or using a P2P network to distribute commercial media content. The patent, #7,639,805, covers a method of individually encrypting each packet with a separate key and allowing users to decrypt differing levels of quality depending on the license that has been purchased."

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193 comments

blah blah (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30696658)

blah blah prior art blah blah

blah blah patents suck blah blah

Re:blah blah (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696804)

I actually did work on something very similar at my last job. Though its somewhat difficult to say it is prior art because the claim is worded very oddly.

Re:blah blah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30696958)

you did some work on "blah blah"? because that's what you replied to. oh wait, you just wanted to get a top level post.

Re:blah blah (1, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697076)

If I wanted a top level post, I would have posted at the top level. When I got here, that was the only post, I replied to it specifically because it had already mentioned prior art.

Re:blah blah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30697190)

so how's the work on "blah blah" coming along? was there prior art for "blah blah"?

Re:blah blah (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697600)

The company went under, a lot of us never got our last paycheck, I work for the air force now.

blah!

Anyway, I don't think what I did would qualify as prior art. The key claim seems to be a multi level key system for unlocking different bit rate/qualities for a downloaded file. What I did was related to live video streaming using P2P to reduce server load.

Patent Office Gets a Promotion (1)

New_Guy_Here (1671964) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696670)

So, is the patent office interpreting a law, then?

Re:Patent Office Gets a Promotion (3, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697152)

So, is the patent office interpreting a law, then?

Yeah, that's kinda their job - interpreting 35 USC 101, 102, 103, and 112, among others.

as old as bt (2, Interesting)

JackSpratts (660957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696692)

similar schemes have been around the community for (unfortunately) ages.

Indeed (4, Interesting)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698364)

Indeed, using DRM-protected torrent to distribute paid-for content was attempted by several players almost immediately by several provider when bittorrent appeared. And lots of less-legal sharing cites may encrypt the torrents so only members of the community could access its content.

In addition, having different levels of quality in different packets of the same stream (the more packet you have, the better the quality), has been proposed in lots of old systems such as the OGG/Vorbis compression (so that a web radio emits only 1 single stream and quality decreases as packet are dropped, instead of having to emit several stream of varying quality). In fact, progressive JPEGs work in a similar way (first chunks contain low-res blurry image, later chunks add the missing details), except that they are not a media stream but static pictures.

Meanwhile the patent was applied for only in 2005. The only thing that wasn't widely used before, is using separate key on each different "quality" packets. But it looks almost straight forward given the other technologies.

That's actually pretty clever (4, Insightful)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696700)

It's a great way of monetizing uncontrollable distribution channels. Easily allow anyone and their goldfish to distribute large content freely, and effectively charge at the codec level. Certainly solves a good half of the people-steal-everything problem. The patent's still stupid, but the idea's great -- I'd support a two-year patent certainly.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30696752)

Certainly solves a good half of the people-steal-everything problem.

What the fuck are you talking about? I'll just jump on the usual pirated torrent, thanks.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30696864)

What the fuck are you talking about? I'll just jump on the usual pirated torrent, thanks.

Here let me fix that for you!

What the turnip are you microwaving about? I'll just slice on the usual baking apple, thanks.

There fixed that for you! :-) No need to thank me! :-)

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30697030)

I'd pay (a small amount) for 720p content if I could just as easily get SD stuff for free, even if pirating the 720p stuff was just as easy. I *want* to buy stuff, they just make it so difficult.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (4, Insightful)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697294)

I'd pay, but I want the assurance that Big Content's hands stay off of my media, ESPECIALLY if I payed for the better quality. If I can't duplicate it, play it on my TV or stream it to a laptop/360/iWhatever/wireless projector/blahblahblah then I'm definitely going to pirate it. The biggest issue I have with DRM content is that the model for DRM hasn't gotten past the whole "You can have it, kinda, but its really still ours" mentality, and I'm not counting on codec-levels being the only "DRM" going on here.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698112)

The biggest issue I have with DRM content is that the model for DRM hasn't gotten past the whole "You can have it, kinda, but its really still ours" mentality...

Your beef is with copyright, then, and not necessarily with DRM. Any copyrighted work is still, really, not yours. You can use the copy, but it does not belong to you. In a book, for example, you can burn the paper in it for kindling if you'd like, but you'll never, ever own the words printed on it.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (2, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698174)

For the record, I've bought music over the years, which I've then subsequently had to pirate for use in players other than the designated "official" player. MP3 DJ tables, music imported to home movies, old MP3 CD players in cars... It all needs to just work, and the only format that just works is MP3 without DRM.

Adding restrictions to content literally drives legitimate purchasers to pirate sites.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (0, Troll)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697140)

It makes it easier to pay than to steal. Nothing's going to stop thieves from thievery.

But some of us have bank accounts and jobs and would rather pay $4 than steal from someone.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697570)

  1. How is making a copy "stealing?" You are failing to meet a key criterion by not depriving the person from whom you made the copy of whatever you copied. Stealing would be walking into my house and taking my hard drive.
  2. This system will fail because nobody will download the restricted media; there is unrestricted media available at no cost. Further, the amount of time needed to extract the secret keys from the restricted codecs is minimal, unless a hardware crypto module is required. I expect that any software implementation will be broken within a week; an implementation using hardware crypto will probably be defeated within a year of its release.

Some of us stopped feeling remorse for the recording and movie industries when we saw how extensive their lies are. Like, the RIAA claiming that Kazaa was killing CD sales, when in reality they had record setting revenues during the height of Kazaa. Or Hollywood accounting. Or the claim that downloading is benefiting violent Mexican gangs. After a decade of claiming that they are suffering financially, I would expect to see RIAA and MPAA member companies all defunct or near bankruptcy, yet in reality these companies are among the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in the world.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (3, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698282)

Stealing would be walking into my house and taking my hard drive.

Do you lay any claim to the data on that hard drive? Would not the thief merely be requiring you to line up your kids and take new snapshots of them, or recalculate your taxes, or re-download all your torrents? Have they actually deprived you of anything, by your standards? I'm genuinely curious if you attach any value to time and effort, or if because it is merely digital it can never have any value at all.

This system will fail because nobody will download the restricted media; there is unrestricted media available at no cost.

You're dreaming, at best. 'Nobody' or 'nobody who is already using torrents'? There are a vast, wide majority of people consuming media like this that have zero idea what a torrent even is, let alone how to safely acquire and use them. Torrents only appeal to a small, technically-minded group of people. Subsequently, few profits are probably lost to this crowd.

Further, the amount of time needed to extract the secret keys from the restricted codecs is minimal, unless a hardware crypto module is required. I expect that any software implementation will be broken within a week; an implementation using hardware crypto will probably be defeated within a year of its release.

See, again: minimal for whom? For those that were previously using illegal means to gain access to the content, or for those people who actually make up their target market. You know, the people who use money who buy these things.

Some of us stopped feeling remorse for the recording and movie industries when we saw how extensive their lies are. Like, the RIAA claiming that Kazaa was killing CD sales, when in reality they had record setting revenues during the height of Kazaa. Or Hollywood accounting. Or the claim that downloading is benefiting violent Mexican gangs. After a decade of claiming that they are suffering financially, I would expect to see RIAA and MPAA member companies all defunct or near bankruptcy, yet in reality these companies are among the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in the world.

On these points we definitely agree. They do in fact over-charge, and a certain backlash is to be expected. I do see the danger, however, in a world where everyone feels this way. Eventually there will be no one else to support the content you are obtaining illegally, and so none will be made. Any way you slice it, your torrents are funded by the good faith of others, and you are abusing that. If you really, honestly believed that the content held no value, and had stronger ethics, you'd simply stop consuming it.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698546)

>> Stealing would be walking into my house and taking my hard drive.
>
> Do you lay any claim to the data on that hard drive? Would not the thief merely
> be requiring you to line up your kids and take new snapshots of them, or
> recalculate your taxes, or re-download all your torrents? Have they actually
> deprived you of anything, by your standards?

My private papers are not published works. They should never be treated as such.
The only reason this would even be considered is the sick fixation that we
currently have with the monetization of information.

Beyond that. A hard drive is a physical thing that one can be deprived of and will
need to be replaced for some non-zero amount of money. This will be the case
regardless of how good your backups are.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697610)

Aside from your holier than thou attitude.. How do you explain over the air broadcast TV and Radio existing and profiting for decades?

Is watching TV without paying for the signal 'stealing'? And if not, why not?

Re:That's actually pretty clever (3, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696774)

Did they remember to patent hacking the encryption within 30s of release? Otherwise the hackers will get away with it!

Re:That's actually pretty clever (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696806)

Hahhahahahahahaha, you're serious aren't you? The malware/scammers have been distributing DRM'd WMV files for ages, hoping to make suckers get rooted by their malware or steal their credit cards. Nobody distributes them except retards and others too lazy to check their downloads, this changes nothing at all.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (2, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696922)

no to mention that should count as prior art...

Re:That's actually pretty clever (4, Informative)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697720)

The patent is NOT about distributing encrypted files, that is just one requirement of the process. RTFP.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30697884)

+1 WIN, nice response. RTFP. They appear to have found a way to have locked up differing levels of quality within the same torrent, accessible at different levels.

Not that I'll use them at all, but the math has gotta be pretty cool.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (2, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696854)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitrate_peeling [wikipedia.org] but with DRM.

DRM and P2P won't mix because it's a huge popularity contest. There is selection pressure against really bad, really big, or password protected/DRMed content.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697108)

This technology wouldn't be used like a typical P2P network of people openly sharing files, since the files with by DRM encrypted, unless it is the Zune model of loaning out a file, and losing the rights to it, until that loaner is returned to you.

BT-style downloads make a great deal of sense for a company like Microsoft or Apple who is pushing tons of downloads.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (3, Insightful)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696858)

Im sure everyone here knows your stance by now...but for those that dont, allow me to translate what you just said...

It's a great way of monetizing uncontrollable(by me) distribution channels. Easily allow anyone and their goldfish to distribute large content freely(at no charge to me), and effectively charge(I collect money from the freely given resources of others without compensation) at the codec level. Certainly solves a good half of the people-steal-everything problem.(except for the fact that you are 'stealing' others resources without compensating them)

Im sorry, but your business model is dying, thats why you have so much resistance to the current changes in the world. Allowed to come to an equilibrium, youd be out of work. You are completely free to follow whatever path you want, but when you start advocating for everyone to only do business a certain way because thats the only way you personally can survive, we part ways.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (0, Troll)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697202)

Im sure everyone here knows your stance by now...but for those that dont, allow me to translate what you just said...

It's a great way of monetizing uncontrollable(by me) distribution channels. Easily allow anyone and their goldfish to distribute large content freely(at no charge to me), and effectively charge(I collect money from the freely given resources of others without compensation) at the codec level. Certainly solves a good half of the people-steal-everything problem.(except for the fact that you are 'stealing' others resources without compensating them)

First, how can you be 'stealing' others resources when you have no contact with them, no control over their actions, and they're the ones "freely" distributing your works? If they don't want to do it, they can delete that torrent. Or quit their torrent application. Or hit pause. Or any number of other ways. There's no 'stealing' of resources involved.

Second, you say "freely given resources of others", but you're referring only to the electricity and cpu cycles - there's also a copyrighted work involved, which they can't freely give, because they don't have the right to do so absent a license agreement.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697452)

where did I say anything about distributing copyrighted works without a license?

Im not interested in your prejudices, which you just fully disclosed with that assumption. Im interested in the way distribution will be done going into the future. If theres no attempt at compensation given for the use of the individuals resources, then the odds of this idea going anywhere at all, are nill

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697742)

where did I say anything about distributing copyrighted works without a license?

Im not interested in your prejudices, which you just fully disclosed with that assumption.

Bear in mind that most of the people who are opposed to intellectual property rights usually complain when people say that infringement is theft, but here you are, talking about stealing freely given electricity and CPU cycles.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697826)

Correct. And if I had to pay for this item, you can be certain that I would not 'freely' distribute it with my own resources without a level of conpensation, be it a discount or whatever form it needs to take. How about for every 100 people I distribute it to using my resources, I get 1% off the next purchase?

I pay, you pay. Those that get it for free, give it for free.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698046)

Correct. And if I had to pay for this item, you can be certain that I would not 'freely' distribute it with my own resources without a level of conpensation, be it a discount or whatever form it needs to take.

Yeah, but it's a torrent. If you're going to say "I'm not going to upload while I download unless you give me a discount", then they're going to say "fine, don't download, leech."

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698198)

And that is 100% acceptable to me. The market will decide. Either the torrent will die, or it will stay.

We dont need laws to regulate it. Thats just a sign of a bad business model. Would it make sense to have laws to regulate that you must buy one horse drawn carriage, even though this new thing called the automobile exists?

And it may be MY bias, but I find most of the 'business owners' who always harp how great the free market is, suddenly find themselves rushing to pass laws to protect them when the market decides against their interests, without thinking twice about those who are already using the new market model to run profitable businesses.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30697410)

You are completely free to follow whatever path you want, but when you start advocating for everyone to only do business a certain way because thats the only way you personally can survive, we part ways.

Funny...that's how a lot of people feel about the FOSS movement.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698318)

Allowed to come to an equilibrium, youd be out of work.

At which point the content stops. You do realize this, yes?

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698426)

The shitty content stops, yes. And that day cant come soon enough. Just because you create something, doesnt mean you will automatically make money form it.

If its what people WANT to buy, they will. Its already been done, and its only going to continue.

see: Radiohead [wikipedia.org]

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698542)

No, all content stops.

Radiohead survives on the voluntary status expressly because they are different. The industry as a whole, however, cannot exist this way, and will have to rely on other dollars in one way or another.

Look at the Open Source content, as an example. Without the likes of IBM, RedHat, etc making actual sales dollars off of someone, a lot of the development we get to enjoy would cease.

Music, on the other hand, is of little practical value. Businesses aren't going to fund it out of charity.

And what of the people who think Radiohead is shitty music? Surely you're willing to entertain a world where people with differing tastes in music are allowed to exist?

The concept behind the system is a solid one - reward creative works. The rewards are currently out of scale, to be sure, but oblivion is never the answer.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697594)

This is like getting a patent on selling yesterday's newspaper when you can already get them for free at the same place that the patent alleges it will sell them.

Re:That's actually pretty clever (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697656)

I think the patent duration works in our favor for these types of things. It'll be another 20 years before we actually see somebody try to stuff this down our throats.

It's what the EFF should do--patent DRM schemes, and due the pants off anybody who tries to use them.

Hmmm. seems to me that someone will figure out... (2, Interesting)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696766)

...how to put a torrent proxy service out there to read in a torrent stream and republish those DRM'ed packets as a non-DRM'ed version of the same data, or just torrent the key itself. Once the genie is out of the bottle its always a challenge to talk that genie back into that little tiny bottle.

ambivalence (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696772)

What's to stop the guy who buys the first license from decrypting it and uploading it anyway? Seriously, this just makes their job easier since they'll have the content right with them!

Then again, if ISPs and the RIAA start leaving DRMed torrents alone and only go after the unprotected ones... ...yikes...this IS bad.

Re:ambivalence (3, Interesting)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696824)

That's a problem you have with any DRM. However, a system like the one described would be a fairly interesting way to deliver live content to subscribers without undue server load, especially if the underlying P2P system was network topology aware.

Re:ambivalence (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697062)

No, what I'm getting at is with DRMed torrents, the MAFIAA might actually back off on filesharing.

DRMed torrents may potentially receive the full blessing of both the MAFIAA and consequently ISPs who no longer have to fear the dogs of war, DRMed torrents will start getting a foothold and suddenly, regular torrents will finally have competition.

Re:ambivalence (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697380)

Yes, not only the customers should pay with money, they should pay with their bandwidth too!

Re:ambivalence (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697968)

Perhaps. What it also might do is allow ISPs to effectively run local torrent caches to limit the amount of traffic that goes over their pipes to the internet (and which they have to pay for). If they tried to do that now then they would be subject to contributing to copyright infringement for anything other than linux isos and similar free content. With this though, they could intercept torrent traffic, monitor which are the most popular of the DRM'd torrents, and cache and share those. That would effectively give DRM'd torrents a big advantage over the regular kind because they would be fed locally at high speed. Of course they would need to do a faster and more reliable job than the old HTTP proxy servers that IPSs initially tried to use and everybody wound up bypassing due to poor performance. It would have to be a cost-benefit analysis of whether setting up and maintaining the system saves enough back-end bandwidth to have decent ROI. However since it would make the DRM'd torrents more attractive, maybe they could ask the MAFIAA to ante up part of the startup costs.

Re:ambivalence (1)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698252)

Why not? Bandwidth caps are driven by saturation of ISPs' outbound links. If widespread topology-aware P2P arises, there may be a move to cut caps on internal network traffic, as it would be a way for ISPs to differentiate without really costing them anything. Of course, this doesn't apply if you're a poor soul living in an area with only one real broadband ISP.

Re:ambivalence (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696990)

actually, on the flip side this will make encrypting every p2p download standard procedure - thus people who use encryption on their normal downloads will be doing SOP as well - it'll make it that much harder for the MAFIAA to identify people as "filesharers" when everyone's doing it.

I still the patent is retarded and there should be prior art, though. At this point I'd like to see our patent office refuse all patents at this point until they start focusing on quality again.

Re:ambivalence (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697232)

I still the patent is retarded and there should be prior art, though. At this point I'd like to see our patent office refuse all patents at this point until they start focusing on quality again.

Yeah, but you can't just say "there should be prior art". You have to actually find that prior art. Otherwise, this is a high quality patent.

Re:ambivalence (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698356)

thus people who use encryption on their normal downloads will be doing SOP as well - it'll make it that much harder for the MAFIAA to identify people as "filesharers" when everyone's doing it.

Actually, I'd think the opposite. In order to flag "filesharers" one would only need to check the encryption keys against a list of those you know are good. If the torrent users are constantly changing keys, they would have to be freely available, or everyone would get locked out of the content.

Sounds like a quick way to kill them. Especially when coupled with a requirement that all torrents of copyrighted works be encrypted.

Re:ambivalence (1)

Anonymous Crobar (1143477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697542)

This patent specifies a method for distributing the content on a torrent-like network, but the difference is that the enduser never downloads the complete file - only the parts necessary to fill the buffer and anything necessary to field fast-forward and rewind requests. What I don't understand is the more general problem in DRM: how do you "secure" a machine from a person who has physical access to it?

maximum utility. (2, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696792)

1. patent something.
2. patent it "...on a computer".
3. patent it "...on a network".
4. patent it "...with DRM".
5. patent it "???".
6. Profit!!1!

Re:maximum utility. (0, Troll)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697256)

1. patent something. 2. patent it "...on a computer". 3. patent it "...on a network". 4. patent it "...with DRM". 5. patent it "???". 6. Profit!!1!

[Citation needed]

There actually aren't any "X... on a computer!" patents because patents don't work that way. There are misleading articles and misleading summaries that characterize a particular patent as "X... on the Internet!" or "X... but on a computer!", but those bear as much relation to the patent as your post does to a funny joke.

Re:maximum utility. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697446)

There actually aren't any "X... on a computer!" patents because patents don't work that way.

I don't want to disagree too strongly, because I try not to read patents.

But, I've definitely seen patents cited here on Slashdot which essentially take something we've all been doing for a long time (like, decades or more), and essentially saying "a computer system for performing <routine task>".

The essentials of the task are unchanged (and wouldn't be patentable) but it's on a computer system. I'm not entirely convinced that some of those modifiers aren't being used to apply for additional patents.

Cheers

Re:maximum utility. (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697596)

There actually aren't any "X... on a computer!" patents because patents don't work that way.

I don't want to disagree too strongly, because I try not to read patents.

But, I've definitely seen patents cited here on Slashdot which essentially take something we've all been doing for a long time (like, decades or more), and essentially saying "a computer system for performing <routine task>".

Yeah, but what you're quoting is the preamble of the claim, not the actual claim. There are usually problems that come in when you take a known routine task and try to perform them in a different context - maybe it's the fact that you need a random number, but the RNG on your computer isn't really random. Or maybe your routine task is processing network packets, but in a multi-core system now you need load balancing and receive-side scaling... so while the patent may be just "processing network packets... but in a multi-core system", it has a whole bunch of new steps to perform that don't exist in a single-core system.

Anyway, the patent office can and absolutely do combine references... So if you had a patent application for "selling flowers... but on the Internet!" with no steps other than "a. offer flower at price N; b. receive price N in payment; c. provide flower; wherein a and b are performed on a computer network", the patent office would say "here's a publication on selling flowers, and here's a publication on a computer network, so we can combine them and it's obvious." However, in all of the complained-about "patents on doing X on the internet", there's a lot more going on.

Re:maximum utility. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30697580)

Not to mention that "with DRM" is actually kind of non-trivial with this sort of protocol.

Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (4, Interesting)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696808)

If this goes mainstream we won't get in trouble for downloading "stolen" products, we'll get in trouble for stealing/cracking encryption keys. That should be even harder to police.

Re:Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (2, Insightful)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696862)

Reminds me of "stealing" satellite signals. The government has cracked down on that pretty viciously.

Re:Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30697392)

How can you "steal" something that is broadcast over an entire hemisphere? You and I are subjected to satellite signals of all kinds without our desire or consent. How is merely making use of that radiation we are bombarded with considered 'theft?'

No, I'm not a tinfoil hat-wearing paraniod. I am just trying to look at it pragmatically.

Now, I WOULD consider an UP-link to a satellite without authorisation to be theft of services (bandwidth, processing time, potentially introducing security holes), but to merely make use of signals broadcast, which I am subjected to all the time regardless of desire or objection, is NOT theft.

Otherwise, if I were a farmer growing "organic" vegetables for hippy/crunchy treehuggers, I'd be crazy to not consider filing a frivilous suit against communication satellite operators for irradiating my crops or for trespassing, if only for generating PR in the paranoid hippy "community." Note to crunchies: I am not patenting this PR-generating scam as 'imaginary property.' Feel free to make use of my idea.

Re:Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698388)

Presumably your government was already compensated for the use of these signals. Perhaps you should take it up with them?

Re:Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (3, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696878)

except that "steeling" a product results in a civil fine. Cracking DRM is a federal felony that can get you decades of hardcore prison time.

Re:Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (1, Offtopic)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697098)

except that "stealing" a product results in a civil fine.

Depends. This hasn't been true in U.S. for over 10 years [wikipedia.org] , for example.

Re:Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697156)

Thats why I enclosed it in quotes. Copyright infringment isn't theft, but most media producers like to perpetuate that lie. The misspelling was entirely unintentional.

Re:Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698412)

Thats why I enclosed it in quotes. Copyright infringment isn't theft, but most media producers like to perpetuate that lie. The misspelling was entirely unintentional.

Conversations that only allow strict definitions of words are cumbersome. Copyright infringement isn't physical theft, true, but neither is any kind of data theft, or identity theft for that matter. This doesn't preclude laws existing to deal with it, despite your nit over the precise word used to communicate it.

Re:Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (1)

xigxag (167441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697206)

AFAIK, the criminal law only applies to being busted downloading >= $1,000 "worth" of stuff in a six month period.

Re:Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697358)

AFAIK, the criminal law only applies to being busted downloading >= $1,000 "worth" of stuff in a six month period.

Correct [copyright.gov] :

"Any person who willfully infringes a copyright shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, if the infringement was committed ...

(B) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000; ..."

But, given that e.g. Photoshop CS4 alone costs $699, it is ridiculously easy to do just that. Even with music alone, if one assumes $1 per file, it's 1000 files in 6 months - not all that much by today's measure.

Re:Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697474)

except that "steeling" a product results in a civil fine. Cracking DRM is a federal felony that can get you decades of hardcore prison time.

But luckily, cracking only needs to be done once. After that, the redistribution is lesser crime.

Re:Solves the piracy problem at the user end... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698148)

I wasn't aware that adding carbon to a product to produce a stronger alloy was a civil violation now. Good grief we really have taken this whole thing too far!

Obvious (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696884)

Please can I have a patent on putting different amounts of sugar in different people's coffee?

Re:Obvious (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698108)

Did you bother reading the claim?

1. A process for managing digital rights to a scalable media file comprising of truncatable media packets, wherein a different encryption/decryption key is used to encrypt each truncatable media packet having a base layer and an enhancement layer without requiring additional storage space to store the encryption/decryption key, comprising the process actions of:

using a first computing device for encryption;

receiving at the first computing device a scalable media file comprising a plurality of truncatable media packets;

for each truncatable media packet:

  - deriving a packet key for the encryption/decryption of the truncatable media packet via a message authentication code (MAC) on the base layer of the truncatable media packet;

  - encrypting the base layer and the enhancement layer of the media packet using the packet key;

  - encrypting the packet key via a media encryption key authorized by an owner of the content of the media;

  - replacing an equal portion of the content in the encrypted base layer of the truncatable media packet with the encrypted packet key;

  - using the first computing device or a second computing device for decryption of each truncatable media packet;

  - receiving at the first computing device or second computing device the truncatable media packets;

  - decrypting the packet key from the replaced portion of the encrypted base layer using a media decryption key authorized by the owner of the content of the media;

  - decrypting the portion of the base layer of the truncatable media packet not replaced by the encrypted packet key using the decrypted packet key;

  - using the MAC on the base layer of the decrypted portion of the truncatable media packet to regenerate the content overwritten by the encrypted packet key to reconstruct the entire base layer of the media packet; and

  - decrypting the content of the enhancement layer of the truncatable media packet using the decrypted packet key.

Still obvious?

Re:Obvious (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698182)

If you'll find a new non obvious way of doing this, then yes.

Already being done (4, Insightful)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696908)

See BBC iPlayer/Kontiki

Not only do they want to turn your own PC against you with their DRM, they also want to use your upstream bandwidth. All the disadvantages of torrents and all the disadvantages of legally bought "treats the buyer as a criminal" DRMified files rolled into one

Re:Already being done (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697160)

Probably not already done. The patent doesn't seem to be for applying DRM to a torrent, but for a particular method of doing it.

Re:Already being done (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697184)

Perhaps this is the reason why they(Microsoft) won't allow the BBC iPlayer on XBOX?
They want to charge for it but the BBC charter/rules won't allow it.
Will Microsoft make the BBC an offer they can't refuse and get them to switch to their DRM method? But the BBC can't make you pay for stuff you view via iPlayer?

Re:Already being done (1)

DJGrahamJ (589019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697230)

True, but like iPlayer/Kontiki you don't have to use the network. Don't watch crappy MS-distributed DRM files and nothing changes. Just stick with the usual clear torrents.

Not "already" (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697288)

The BBC iPlayer doesn't predate the September 3, 2004 filing date.

Re:Already being done (1)

rawler (1005089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698058)

Or Spotify

Bandwidth of a movie? (2, Insightful)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696938)

So if I only want to pay for the 700MB quality KEY, I still have to download the whole 4GB torrent?

Where can I download this awesome torrents? Oh I think I found the link:

http://thepiratemicrosoft.com/ [thepiratemicrosoft.com]


..

Re:Bandwidth of a movie? (1)

Anonymous Crobar (1143477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697222)

Actually, I think the implementation is a little different- you never download the entire file. You only download what you need to keep the buffer full. If you want to skip ahead (or back), the code finds the appropriate packets. Since they are all encrypted separately, the media is a little more modular.

-Sean

Waste of bandwidth and disk (5, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30696952)

If you only get the low quality anyways, why does it make any sense for you to be forced to pull the bits in the high quality version? This is a reduction in efficiency and convenience. Due to the long transfer times required for high-quality content, and very short transfer times required for smaller low-quality content.

There's a simpler solution to this: use keyed/passworded private torrents.

Make different quality versions different files.

Then the customers who purchase low-quality content don't get to download the same file as the ones who purchase high-quality content, and it means, less bandwidth and disk space is used.

If they change their mind and wish to buy a high quality version, they can simply download the high-quality version once given access. Upon successful download replace the lq file.

This technology is superfluous.. it shouldn't be patentable, because it's not an actual improvement.

Inventions have to be improvements to be patentable... it's called useful discovery

As required by the constitution: To promote the progress of science and useful arts...

Their technology does not offer an improvement versus pre-existing unpatented technologies in common use and simpler obvious ways of accomplishing the same thing, they do not have a useful invention.

Re:Waste of bandwidth and disk (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697146)

This technology is superfluous.. it shouldn't be patentable, because it's not an actual improvement.

It very much depends on your perspective. From TFA:

"The system has the advantages of 1) shifting distribution costs to users ..."

Waste... for you, not them (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697356)

If you only get the low quality anyways, why does it make any sense for you to be forced to pull the bits in the high quality version? This is a reduction in efficiency and convenience. Due to the long transfer times required for high-quality content, and very short transfer times required for smaller low-quality content.

There's a simpler solution to this: use keyed/passworded private torrents.

Make different quality versions different files.

Then the customers who purchase low-quality content don't get to download the same file as the ones who purchase high-quality content, and it means, less bandwidth and disk space is used.

If they change their mind and wish to buy a high quality version, they can simply download the high-quality version once given access. Upon successful download replace the lq file.

This technology is superfluous.. it shouldn't be patentable, because it's not an actual improvement.

Inventions have to be improvements to be patentable... it's called useful discovery

As required by the constitution: To promote the progress of science and useful arts...

Their technology does not offer an improvement versus pre-existing unpatented technologies in common use and simpler obvious ways of accomplishing the same thing, they do not have a useful invention.

Just because it's not an improvement to you, the pirate, doesn't mean it's not an improvement to them, the copyright owner. The Supreme Court has very broadly construed "useful"... In the Juicy Whip case, for example, they held an invention that made a regular mix-syrup-and-water soda fountain that looked like a premix reservoir-type fountain to be a useful invention, because it successfully (and usefully) misled customers into believing they were getting a fresher product. That moved it into the arena of the FDA and FTC rather than the patent office.
Same thing here - this is useful to the copyright owners who want to efficiently monetize their work by creating one multi-quality file that can be unlocked at different qualities by different keys. Sure, it sucks for you, but that doesn't mean it's useful.

RTFA (1)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697722)

The claim in the patent makes it clear there's a "base layer" and an "enhancement layer". The high quality version would need both, the low quality would only download the bits they need, and only have decryption rights to those.

If you read between the lines, what they're talking about is like a regular DRMed P2P distribution channel (BBC iplayer), but targetable to portable devices (i.e. the Zune) also.

It's clever, and useful if you're Microsoft, or maybe Apple, and have control over an ecosystem of products (Xbox/WMP/Zune or iTunes/iPhone/iPod).

Re:Waste of bandwidth and disk (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697746)

I think you may have missed the part where Microsoft isn't the one distributing this around, it's P2P! Those losers don't care how much bandwidth they're wasting! And hell, if they get pissed at downloading a file four times as large as is justified by the quality they've purchased, they can spend more money to unlock the higher quality content! IT'S BRILLIANT

WOW! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30696988)

So if I encrypt a file, create a torrent out of it, and put it up for distribution, I'm violating MS's patent?

If this is the case, I guess I'll have to become Incorporated if I want to 'innovate' anything for the net... Either that, or that patent office should be taken out back and shot. Not sure which one would be easier at this point...

Re:WOW! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697178)

So if I encrypt a file, create a torrent out of it, and put it up for distribution, I'm violating MS's patent?

Only if you use there method for doing it, AFAICS. But IANAL.

Embrace, extend, extinguish (5, Funny)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697092)

FINALLY Microsoft reaches out to embrace, extend, and extinguish DRM.

Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30697126)

Isnt that the same scheme for their OS? I thought they have already patented that ....

Anyone who thinks... (1)

MinisterPhobia (460676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697198)

... that torrent users are going to obey this law where they've ignored all the other laws raise your hand.

Re:Anyone who thinks... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698242)

That's the whole futility in thinking that you can pass just a few more laws to get law breakers to obey.

They pass laws against guns when shooting people is already illegal. Do you think the murderer will stop because of 1 more law?

They pass laws against prostitution because "the girls get beat up". Assault is already illegal. Do you think that an assailant will halt at the law against prostitution when the other law didn't stop him?

They pass laws against drug use because it "leads to crime", despite that crime itself being illegal already.

They pass laws against breaking DRM when copying stuff was already illegal. Do you think that the cracker is going to saw "WHOA - wait a tick. I was going to make this illegal copy but I'd have to illegally break the DRM - no sir I'll not tarnish my rep!".

We keep stacking more and more laws on ourselves based on what we MIGHT do in conjunction with an activity. It doesn't stop the people actually doing the wrong and only serves to further restrict the people who weren't going to do anything wrong to begin with (ie, the people who actually obey the law).

sp0nGe (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30697284)

Why are you guys so upset? (5, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697672)

I always have to laugh when people complain about patents on technologies they hate. Hello? They PATENTED it. That means nobody else is allowed to do it. And Microsoft of course, will fail at it themselves. Thus the effect of the patent is to PREVENT these sorts of DRM mechanisms from proliferating. Use your brains people.

Re:Why are you guys so upset? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30698438)

I always have to laugh when people complain about patents on technologies they hate. Hello? They PATENTED it. That means nobody else is allowed to do it. And Microsoft of course, will fail at it themselves. Thus the effect of the patent is to PREVENT these sorts of DRM mechanisms from proliferating. Use your brains people.

Exactly.

Developers developers developers.

Depending on the license... (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30697948)

...depending on the license that has been purchased.

Does this mean I can implement the same DRM without the license restriction and it's not covered by the patent?

Just 'cause they can I guess... (1)

HamSammy (1716116) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698096)

Why would anybody, even Microsoft, try to get into a sketchy (at least to the public) form of distribution, and try to oust the already popular, free form of torrents? Especially when the content of the DRM'd torrents will just end up right where it always does: right back in the free torrents?

I'm all for the adoption of a strong P2P network if they can get it to work efficiently, but it doesn't strike me as a very good business decision.

They should pay me (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698236)

Why should I participate in DRM P2P, especially if I have to buy a license? Microsoft should be paying me.

Wow! Holy greed batman! (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30698522)

So, basically MS wants ME to contribute to distribute THEIR content I already paid for and then actually download MORE then I can actually use?

A: Hidden charges, shipping charges laws. A product should have a clear price. But say I download such a product on a paid connection. Then I pay not just for the license but also for the download AND upload. And if my license is not for the full product, I download stuff I don't need. So, how much does a $7 movie cost? Really?

B: What does this change, DRM exists and has been broken. What is the point of adding even more complexity?

C: What happens to people on ISP's who restrict uploads?

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